Oral historian Pamela Brown Lavitt interviewed Ruth Peizer on June 18 & August 6, 2001
in West Seattle, Washington as part of the Jewish Women's Archive "Weaving Women's Words" project.
Ruth Peizer's love affair with Yiddish began when her parents, Riva and Abraham Immerman, sent their only child to Chicago's Arbeiter Ring [Workmen's Circle] school at age nine, and then to the Sholem Aleichem Institute where she graduated valedictorian at age 18. Since moving to (West) Seattle in 1949, Ruth has become Seattle's preeminent Yiddish instructor, teaching at the University of Washington in the 1980s and through the Jewish Federation today. Ruthâs knowledge of Yiddish has impacted her entire life through Yiddish culture including her adoration of Yiddish theatre, literature and music. Yiddish has also opened many doors all over the world for Ruth and her husband, Dr. Samuel Peizer, from her sponsorship of Russian refusniks seeking asylum in Seattle to her sending humanitarian aid to the Baltics since 1992.
In the early 2000s, the Jewish Women's Archive conducted oral history interviews with 30 Jewish women living in Baltimore and another 30 in Seattle. Born in the early decades of the 20th century, these women lived through decades of political, social, and economic upheaval, as well as dramatic changes in expectations and opportunities for women. Doctors and lawyers, teachers and saleswomen, judges and social workers, homemakers and community volunteers, the narrators represent a wide range of backgrounds, affiliations, and experiences of American Jewish women. To find out more and to see the online exhibits based on this project, visit Jewish Women's Archive/baltimore and Jewish Women's Archive/seattle
The complete audio recordings and transcripts of the interviews are available on the Internet Archive.
This project was made possible in part by major grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Brenda Brown Lipitz Rever Foundation, and the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, Inc. In Baltimore, the project was a collaboration with the Jewish Museum of Maryland; in Seattle, with the Museum of History and Industry.